Analects Book 1: on affectation

Throughout the Analects, Confucius repeatedly raises his concerns about people who fail to back up their promises with meaningful actions and act in superficial ways designed to impress their peers with their morality and kindness rather than out of any genuine desire to follow the principles that they purportedly ascribe to.

In Chapter III of Book 1, he almost immediately goes onto the offensive against such hypocrisy, roundly declaring, “Smooth talk and an affected manner are seldom signs of goodness.”

In Chapter XVII of Book 17, he repeats this exact phrase. Similar admonitions against can be found in Chapter V of Book 5, Chapter III of Book 12, and Chapter IV of Book 16.

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